"Sinocism is the Presidential Daily Brief for China hands"- Evan Osnos, New Yorker Correspondent and National Book Award Winner
China marked the 75th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre with sirens, vigils and aerial reconnaissance of the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands (China Daily) by a Chinese marine surveillance (not PLAF) plane. Japan protested and scrambled fighter jets (Reuters), China said the flights are “completely normal” (Xinhua) and Japan better get used to them, and Chinese websites posted a nice slideshow of the aerial photos (Netease).
Xinhua reminded the world that Chinese are still very angry about Japan’s World War II actions in China Voice: War agony lingers amid Japan’s militarism revival.
China appears to have taken effective administrative control of the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. Were the September anti-Japan protests part of a coordinated strategy to help China gain de facto control, as they sent the message that “we are angry and people could go crazy” and China took advantage of Japan’s restraint to change the facts on the ground, or on the water in this case? And has Xi Jinping been in charge of China’s policy towards the islands since before the protests?
Former US President Jimmy Carter is in town and his meetings with both Li Keqiang and Xi Jinping have been given prominent media coverage. Carter’s meeting with Xi was the lead item on Thursday’s CCTV Evening News and a top story in today’s People’s Daily. During the meeting Xi called for more “positive energy” for the China-U.S. partnership (Xinhua). For all the tension with Japan, Xi is clearly sending the signal that he wants a good relationship with the US. The balancing will be fascinating to watch.
Sheila Smith, a Senior Fellow For Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, has an interesting analysis of the islands issue in Beijing’s Test of Tokyo:
This small flight over the Senkakus may seem innocuous, but it signals a creeping effort to change the administrative control over the islands. Within Japan, it creates deeper challenges for those who come into power this coming Sunday. Japan must be shrewd and calm; defend its territory and assert its desire for reconciliation. It must enhance its air and maritime defenses in the southwestern region, but it must also carefully consider the danger of relying on political symbols and assertions that feed into the vision of a “right-wing” nationalistic Japan that Beijing would be only too happy to exploit.
Baiting Japan’s politicians into a more reactive stance on the eve of an election…Welcome to the new Japan-China relationship.
In what would appear to be a very significant and worrisome intelligence failure, Foreign Policy reports that Obama’s Asia team was caught off guard, partying when rocket launched:
Several top U.S. officials dealing with Asia and North Korea from the State Department, the Pentagon, and the National Security Council were relaxing Tuesday night at the Japanese ambassador’s Nebraska Avenue residence in Washington when the news came over their blackberries that North Korea had launched another Unha-3 rocket with a “satellite” attached, this time with much more success than a previous attempt in April.
Just minutes before the launch news became known, several officials were overheard remarking how nice it was that North Korea was apparently delaying the launch, giving U.S. North Korea watchers hope that their holiday festivities would not be interrupted.
Was China also caught by surprise?
In Ripe for Rivalry (Foreign Policy) Victor Cha looks at the implications of the rocket launch:
The reactions from the region’s major powers will be as unsettling as they are predictable: The United States and South Korea will step up military exercises in the Yellow Sea. A new Abe government will seek to enhance Japan’s missile-defense systems. The United States will use the splashdown of the second stage of the North Korean missile off the Philippines to spur greater regional defense cooperation with Southeast Asian countries, raising Chinese hackles. And finally, as North Korea moves closer to becoming a full-fledged nuclear weapons power over the next few years, countries in the region that feel threatened will seek greater military weaponry on their own. These reactions, in turn, could spark an arms race in the region.
I was not joking yesterday when I asked about the best investment ideas to capitalize on the quickening Asian arms race. Has anyone seen research reports or suggested portfolios for this theme?
Speaking of money, I am still seeking more support for Sinocism, as while the fundraising campaign kept the newsletter alive 95% of you have still not contributed. So if you value this service, please consider supporting it. Thanks
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
HSBC China initial December PMI rises to 50.9 – MarketWatch Hongbin Qu, HSBC’s chief economist for China, said the improvement in the latest survey results confirmed that China’s “ongoing growth recovery is gaining momentum, mainly driven by domestic demand conditions. However, the drop of new export orders and the downside surprise of November exports growth suggest the persisting external headwinds.”
Looking Forward: China’s Top Economic Conference -Caijing – Economists have also noted small changes in official terminology from the previous leadership. The newly-elected politburo, for example, said in an earlier press release that the government aims to “achieve persistent and health economic development, as well as social harmony and stability”, rather than “to maintain stable and relatively fast economic growth” as was frequently stated in the country’s official documents. Replacing “stable” and “relatively fast” with “persistent” and “healthy” indicates that the new leaders will set a higher priority for structure and efficiency rather than the rate of growth, Lu Zhengwei, chief economist with the Industrial Bank Co.Ltd, was quoted by the China Business News as saying.
人民日报-从缓中趋稳走向筑底回升（年终形势述评） – Pag
新华社：未来房地产调控决心不变 力度不减–新浪网 Xinhua says no loosening of real estate repression policies//
Report warns on China’s real estate rebound – Xinhua | English.news.cn– BEIJING, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) — A government think tank has warned that 2013 may see continued rises in real estate prices and face the risks of market collapses in some localities. According to a green paper on China’s housing sector released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) on Thursday, the academy is worried that many indexes of the country’s housing market have shown rising trends in recent months.
Shanghai Sells Year’s Most Expensive Land as Market Recovers – Bloomberg The 107,500-square-meter (1.2 million-square-foot) site near Shanghai South Railway station was sold yesterday for 5.4 billion yuan ($864 million), according to the local land reserve center. A group of four companies, led by China Vanke Co. (000002), the country’s biggest developer, and Shanghai Greenland Group Co., which is building China’s second-tallest tower, bought the site, said property broker Century 21 China Real Estate.
Guest post: A solution for China v SEC | beyondbrics China should bring these companies back to China by disposing of the offshore parent company and allowing private Chinese companies to list directly abroad. For companies in sensitive industries like the internet, these companies could adopt dual class share structures keeping the voting power in Chinese hands, replacing the variable interest entity structure that is currently used to control them through contracts rather than through ownership. Overseas listed companies should be placed firmly under the regulatory oversight of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). The CSRC should serve as gatekeeper to overseas markets, ensuring that sensitive companies do not list overseas. The CSRC should be given the authority to work with foreign regulators on companies that do list overseas, allowing for joint inspections and document sharing as appropriate
SEC v. Deloitte | China Accounting Blog | Paul Gillis – The most interesting reading to me is the declaration of Alberto Arevalo. Arevalo is an Assistant Director in the Office of International Affairs (OIA) of the SEC. He appears to have been the point person in negotiations with the Chinese over access to audit working papers. He details the whole sordid story of how the SEC made 21 requests for assistance from the CSRC in 16 ongoing investigations, including three requests for audit working papers. They got none of the working papers and did not receive any meaningful assistance from the CSRC.
KPMG Says Spat Won’t Hurt Growth in China – WSJ.com – “more rigorous”? what BS PR-speak..some of these firms were borderline complicit, or worse, in the frauds// The accounting industry could have been “more rigorous” in certain audits of China-based companies, but the dispute between U.S. and Chinese regulators over these audits won’t stifle KPMG International’s growth in China, its chairman said Thursday.
Trust Firms Have Their Products Rated – Caixin – The first rated trust product, Hwabao Jingwei Fortune No.1 Trust Scheme, was issued by Shanghai-based Hwabao Trust Co. Ltd. on behalf of KunMing Transportation Investment Co., Ltd., a state-owned infrastructure company in Yunnan Province. China Cheng Xin International Credit Rating Co. Ltd. (CCXI) rated the scheme AA+, the second-highest rating after AAA, Hwabao said on December 6.
Luxury goods market dented by govt policies|chinadaily.com.cn– Tightened policies on government spending for luxury goods in China have put a temporary cap on the buying of luxury goods as gifts, which has contributed to the slowest annual growth of the market in five years. That’s according to the findings of the latest Bain & Co report released on Wednesday. The consultancy predicted luxury sales on the Chinese mainland to grow a meager 7 percent this year.
POLITICS AND LAW
China Voice: China awaits more after Xi’s new moves – Xinhua Now that the public’s expectations have been raised, the challenge lies in living up to these expectations.//Xi must know this. Why I expect significant progress against corruption and special interests. Reality is most people would probably be happy with corruption returning to level of 2005 or so…
CPC leaders’ bureaucracy-busting efforts to be scrutinized – Xinhua | English.news.cn – Senior Communist Party of China (CPC) leader Liu Yunshan on Thursday said CPC leaders will be examined regularly on changes in their work style and the results will be made public.
‘Fans’ of Xi Jinping fawn online over ‘Pingping,’ China’s new leader The microblog, called the “Learning from Xi Fan Club,” accurately reported Xi’s travel plans, to Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other southern cities, well before the news was reported on state-run CCTV television, and days before the official news agency Xinhua, which waited to make any mention of the trip until this week, when the visit was complete… But many here who study the media are unconvinced the site is the work of real “fans,” saying it appears more like part of a well-oiled propaganda effort. With its professional style and use of standard journalism techniques, “it is definitely not from some ordinary grass-roots-level netizen,” said Zhang Zhian, an expert on new media from Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University. He guessed the fan club, if not really the work of an everyday follower, was either the work of the Party Central Committee’s General Office or Xinhua reporters.//the weibo– 学习粉丝团的微博. still expect an official Xi Jinping Weibo account
China’s new Central Committee members urged to disclose assets | South China Morning Post – More than 1,000 lawyers, academics and professionals signed an open letter calling for newly chosen members of the Communist Party’s Central Committee to publicly disclose their family assets to rein in corruption.
Ex-Yunnan official on graft trial — Shanghai Daily – A FORMER Yunnan Province official who allegedly had more than 20 apartments, including six in Melbourne, Australia, stood trial yesterday on charges of abuse of power and taking bribes worth more than 12 million yuan (US$1.9 million).
海口市人大常委会副主任陈琼玻在其寓所坠亡- 南网 – 南方日报官方网站社会 – Vice Chairman of the Haikou NPC fell to his death at his residence..no word if accident, depressed and/or under investigation..lots of officials jump to their deaths, usually blamed on “depression” and/or “overwork”, frequently under or soon to be under investigation
媒体称艳照反腐走火入魔 迎合低级趣味窥私心理 – 新华法治 – 新华网 – interesting from China Youth Daily on need for asset disclosure, downsides of relying on salacious photos (aka mob campaigning) to expose corruption// 时下，网络成为反腐的前沿阵地，“
Chinese charity caught in financial statement controversy – People’s Daily Online – A charity foundation for children in China has issued an open apology over an accounting mistake that triggered money laundering allegations, but public confidence in charity has nevertheless been eroded by the affair.
儿慈会对账单未如期公布 称公众不易看懂_新闻_腾讯网 – possible massive scandal at China Charities Aid Foundation For Children Brewing after online questioning of its accounts..sad
New twist in Beijing car plate scandal- China.org.cn In the latest twist to the ongoing controversy over Beijing’s car plate scandal, it has emerged that it is the son of the capital’s traffic management chief that embroiled his father in the wrongdoing.
重庆警界低调纠偏：拆解交巡警平台 恢复派出所_资讯频道_凤凰网 – lots of media reports about cleanup of mess in chongqing left by bo xilai and wang lijun
王立军重庆3年处理5600名警察 重庆低调平反_网易新闻中心 – 本报讯 据《云南信息报》报道，
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
明鏡新聞網: 明鏡獨家：崔天凱將任中國駐美大使 – Mingjing says Cui Tiankai will be next PRC Ambassador to USA.
“Strong army” Xi: The other side of China’s reformer | beyondbrics – Sinocism readers knew all about it…// Western observers of China could be forgiven for missing this other side Xi. While foreign media reported extensively on his calls economic reform_ there was little mention military-related comments.
Susan Rice’s new Chinese sparring partner | Turtle Bay– Li [Baoding] pushed back, saying that there was no need to condemn North Korea, and that its test constituted no threat to regional stability. “That’s ridiculous,” Rice shot back, according to one of three council diplomats who described the encounter. “Ridiculous?” a visibly angered Li responded through an interpreter. “You better watch your language.” “Well, it’s in the Oxford dictionary, and Churkin — if he were in the room — he would know how to take it,” retorted Rice.
Should China continue to keep a low-profile attitude? – People’s Daily Online – Wu Jianmin–In a word, the diplomatic guideline of “keep a low profile and bide our time, while also getting something accomplished” is a precious legacy left by Deng. The spirit of 18th CPC National Congress is to unswervingly go on the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics created by Deng.//original 人民日报海外版-
Chinese TV Airs 30 Minute Discussion of Satellite Launch | NK News – For his part, Jin Canrong explained that the political objective of the launch of the “satellite” took priority for North Korea over any military objective, adding that by suddenly launching the satellite, the DPRK successfully struck fear into the United States, Japan, and South Korea. Zhang pointed out that “the undetected launch of the DPRK satellite destroyed the legend of the United States’ Theatre Missile Defence (TMD.)” Jin made a point of saying that the DPRK’s rocket technology is currently at least seven years more advanced than that of South Korea.
Global Internet Diplomacy – NYTimes.com But a group of countries led by Russia and China are trying to use the deliberations, the first in 24 years and taking place under United Nations auspices, to undermine the open spirit of the Internet. The United States, the European Union and other countries have rightly resisted any such effort, which is also supported by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Algeria, Iraq and Bahrain.
U.N. summit derailed over human rights controversy | Politics and Law – CNET News – China has been dubbed a “predator” on press freedom. It blocks thousands of Web sites and extensively monitors its citizens’ Internet activities. Algeria has censored Web sites critical of the government, monitored Internet chat rooms, and indefinitely banned public demonstrations. “We think this provision is a very important matter,” Sweden’s delegate said, referring to the human rights language. “And we support the amendments proposed by the United States. We are not here to develop new human rights language, but to reaffirm previous commitments, while implementing these technical [regulations].”
China in Africa: taking advantage | beyondbrics– A paper from the Centre for the Study of African Economies suggests that savvy Chinese companies have set up shop in Africa as a route to get their products into the US, with the added incentive of all those juicy AGOA benefits. The logic is impeccable. Not only does an Africa platform get them duty-free access to US markets; they can also avoid punitive quotas on China’s exports, imposed under previous protectionist measures enacted by the rich world such as the Multifibre Arrangement.
China in Africa: The Real Story: Is China Really Building 100 Dams in Africa?– It does no service to our understanding of this important issue to create yet another stylized picture that appears to be way out of proportion to the reality. NGOs are advocacy organizations. They don’t have an incentive to report accurately. But as academics, we need to have a higher standard. If you write about Chinese involvement in building dams in Africa, rather than repeating someone else’s (shoddy) research figures as though they are real, why not spend a little time and effort to dig into these cases and come up with numbers that you can stand behind?
Mobile Phones Souring Africa’s Image of China – Caixin Legitimate as well as dodgy businesses have flooded East Africa with millions of low-cost handhelds, for good and bad
China Daily launches Africa weekly edition|Society|chinadaily
7 Secret Ways America’s Stealth Armada Stays Off the Radar | Danger Room | Wired.com – With China and Russia both demonstrating a rapidly improving grasp of stealth shaping — and materials to a lesser extent — these other, possibly harder-to-master aspects of radar-evasion are arguably becoming more important to maintaining America’s aerial advantage.
Pentagon Warns: ‘Pervasive’ Industrial Spying Targets U.S. Space Tech | Danger Room | Wired.com – The report doesn’t single out any country for space-tech espionage, lumping the suspected origins of espionage plots together into regions such as East Asia and the Pacific. But according to the report, many espionage attempts arising in Asia reflect “coordinated national strategies” by governments that “perceive themselves as being surrounded by threats, including from each other.” Because of this, these governments desire to upgrade their armies and make themselves more self-sufficient. Front companies originating in Asia and involved in espionage have also attempted to sell technology to countries that are — wink — “hostile to U.S. interests.”
HONG KONG AND TAIWAN
1992 consensus between Beijing and Taipei appears here to stay | South China Morning Post – The tacit understanding reached in 1992 holds that both sides recognise there is only one China, but each can have its own interpretation of what China stands for. Despite the straightforward definition, debate has continued over what the consensus means.
Jackie Chan Suggests Hong Kong Curb Rights | TIME.comThe action star lamented that Hong Kong has become a city of protests, where people “scold China, scold the leaders, scold anything, protest against anything. “There should be regulations on what can and cannot be protested,” Chan told the Southern People Weekly, which published his comments Wednesday. He didn’t say what kinds of protests he thought should be restricted.
‘The most corrupt country is America,’ Jackie Chan’s comments widely panned in China | Ministry of Tofu 豆腐部 In a talk show aired on Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV Monday, Jackie Chan, the world-famous actor and show-biz star, said that China is not the country with the most serious corruption problem; the United States is. He also called on Chinese people to refrain from criticizing the China, especially in front of “outsiders”. The remarks immediately set off waves of criticism in China’s micro-blogosphere. Many Chinese net users joked “He should shut up and focus on acting,” but others believe he had a point.
TECH AND MEDIA
USTR Announces Results of Special 301 Review of Notorious Markets | Office of the United States Trade Representative – Alibaba’s lobbying in DC bearing fruit..USTR should make Alibaba/Taobao be clean for at least several quarters before removing this designation. Alibaba in a hurry as they want this to go away before their IPO// This year’s list also highlights positive developments since the issuance of the previous Notorious Markets Review in December 2011. For example, Chinese site Taobao, has worked with rights holders to significantly decrease the listing of infringing products for sale through its website, and has committed to continue working to streamline its complaint procedures to further reduce listings of counterfeit products. We encourage other Chinese online marketplaces to take similar actions to ensure the timely removal of listings for sales of pirated and counterfeit goods on their sites. Similarly, Chinese website Sogou has been removed from the current list based on reports that it has also made notable efforts to work with rights holders to address the availability of infringing content on its site.
US drops China’s Taobao website from ‘notorious’ list | South China Morning Post – shows lobbying works..?/ Taobao Marketplace, an online shopping site similar to eBay and Amazon that brings together buyers and sellers, “has been removed from the this year List because it has undertaken notable efforts over the past year to work with rightholders directly or through their industry associations to clean up its site,” the US Trade Representative’s office said in the report.
消息称新浪无线裁员：SP业务成重灾区 _新浪（SINA） _i美股 – Sina doing layoffs in Wireless division?
Microsoft Retools in Fight Against China Pirates – China Real Time Report – WSJ – Speaking at a media briefing Thursday, Nick Psyhogeos, a Vice President with Microsoft said Windows 8 was probably the operating system most resilient to piracy the company has released yet. But he added, “we are aware though that software pirates are smart, and they have a way to react and respond to any technological advancement we might introduce.”
Amazon Starts Selling Kindle E-Books in China, Joining Brazil – Bloomberg Users can download Kindle software for free from the China website onto their iPhone, iPad or Android devices, which allows them to read Kindle E-books on those devices, according to information on the website. The site doesn’t indicate precisely when sales of E-books began and doesn’t offer Kindle devices.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
微博“约辩”少女之父已获释回家_政经频道_财新网 – 占全喜被警方直接用警车送至地铁站，
陕西邪教散布末日谣言 煽动信徒与党决战_网易新闻中心 – 核心提示：据陕西媒体报道，该省部分地区出现“全能神”
昆明会所用300公斤金条铺路 总价超亿元_网易新闻中心 A Kunming club has floor paved with 300 Kilos of gold bars worth more than 100 million rmb
China’s hukou, the future in a little red book – latimes.com– Liu Siping, a 50-year-old widow, arrived in Beijing in 2001 to work as a nanny to support her daughter back in central Anhui province. She said migrants like her and her neighbors might as well be invisible to the city folk who benefit from their labor. “The people who live in this area, we all get up early and come home late,” Liu said. “We work very hard and we struggle. All the local hukou holders have to do is collect rent. That’s the difference.”
Photos: Capturing Tibet – Scene Asia – WSJ When National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita set out to chronicle a rapidly changing Tibet, he found traditional towns that have morphed into tourist destinations, motorcycle-riding local residents joining an expanding middle class, and outlying areas that feel more Tibetan than restive Tibet itself
The Buddhas of Mes Aynak by Brent E. Huffman — Kickstarter The goal of this Kickstarter campaign is to fund the production of a documentary film (segments have already been featured on CNN, The Washington Post, NPR, PRI, BBC, etc.) about the imminent destruction of the ancient Buddhist city at Mes Aynak, Afghanistan by a Chinese copper mine in December 2012. This film will also document the work of international archaeologists and all of their findings at Mes Aynak. ..The location, called one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Asia, will be demolished by a Chinese government-owned mining company (MCC). MCC will exploit the location for over 100 billion dollars worth of copper located directly beneath the Buddhist temples.
Beijing clearing historic district’s shaky homes – Xinhua BEIJING, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) — The government is about to demolish rows of shaky residential buildings surrounding a 13th-century landmark in the heart of historic Beijing, officials announced on Thursday. They said the overhaul is to restore the beauty of Beijing’s Drum and Bell Towers, which acted as a signature timepiece for three dynasties since 1272.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
江苏汇源无证排污5年 屡测超标 | 每经网– “私卖商标”风波还未平息，江苏汇源食品饮料有限公司 （以下简称江苏汇源）又陷“环保门”。 近日，
BOOKS AND LITERATURE
Amazon: The Great Firewall: Nathan Green – new novel, have not read it but the author knows his stuff, looks very interesting// Behind China’s Great Firewall, fifty thousand internet police comb the web for political dissent, erasing every trace they find. When journalist Chen Bo exposes corrupt officials through his blog and turns nationalistic protesters against their own government, Director Yang deploys the full force of China’s high tech police state to stop him. Evan Svenson, an American internet executive under the spell of China’s booming economy and the seductive Mei Lin, collaborates with the police. As millions take to the streets and a cyber chase races from the back alleys of old Guangzhou to the skyscrapers of new Shanghai, the future of the most populous nation on earth hangs in the balance.
Parsing Parables – Caixin – Mo Yan’s Noble Lecture on December 7 in Stockholm raised heated debate back home over the author’s relationship with the government. Zhu Dake, a professor of literary criticism at Tongji University, gave an interview to ifeng.com in which he tried to decipher Mo’s talk and compared the literary lightning rod to other Nobel winners